Americans are remarkably supportive of requiring criminal background checks to buy a gun, banning civilans from buying armor-piercing bullets, and spending more government money training law enforcement officials to deal with mass shootings, a new poll by Gallup finds. No fewer than nine in ten people said they'd support requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, Gallup found; eight in ten said they'd vote for more government spending on mental health programs for young people and also on more training for police officers and school officials to respond to armed attacks. Indeed, the least popular of the nine gun-control ideas advocated by President Obama, according to the poll, is a ban on the sale of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds. And that idea was still favored by more than half of all respondents.
So what's the catch? The poll didn't mention Obama by name. Last week, when Gallup polled Americans on the president's gun-control plans and name-dropped the president, just 53 percent said they'd tell their representatives in Congress to support them.
Here are the full results:
We'll leave it to others to ponder the reasons for the discrepancy, but in practical terms this represents a challenge facing the president as he makes the push for new gun policies: Sell the public on his ideas while staying out of the way.